Tennessee Shakespeare Company
presents its first Mainstage production of madcap
The Comedy of Errors

in partnership with the University of Memphis’
Department of Theatre & Dance
June 8-18

pic comedy of errors0200

Joey Shaw (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Blake Currie (Dromio of Syracuse).

Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents William Shakespeare’s madcap, joyous The Comedy of Errors on the U of M’s Theatre Mainstage from June 8-18.

Featuring a professional cast of actor-musicians and directed by Shakespeare & Company co-founder Tony Simotes, the production sets Shakespeare’s shortest, wildest play in the exotic and dangerous Greece of 1600.

The story features two sets of identical twins, who, along with their parents, were separated shortly after birth on the high seas.  Now, more than 20 years later, Antipholus (the master) and Dromio (his servant) come to a new land that is hostile to foreigners.  Little do they know, their father, chasing after them, is imprisoned and faces execution at sunset for crossing the border unless he can find someone to pay his bail.  And little do they know, their identical twin brothers live here!  It makes for the funniest, most bizarre day in the country until a final familial revelation changes everyone’s lives forever.

Returning to TSC as the Antipholus twins are Joey Shaw (Romeo; King in All’s Well That Ends Well; Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Colton Swibold (title role in Henry V last year).  Returning as the clowning Dromio servants are Nic Picou and Blake Currie (both from Henry V).

Making her TSC debut as Antipholus’ wife Adrianna is U of M alum Claire Hayner, and returning to play her sister Luciana is Rachel Brun (Juliet; Lady Anne in Richard III; Antonio in Twelfth Night; Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

Founding TSC members Phil Darius Wallace (Egeon), Michael Khalarian (Pinch), and Stuart Heyman (Duke) join TSC Education Director and resident artist Stephanie Shine (Abbess) and TSC Artist-Manager Fellows Jillian Barron (Courtesan) and Marquis Archuleta (Angelo).  The cast also includes U of M students Destiny Freeman and Ellie Boisseau, as well as alumni Marlon Finnie and Zach Williams.

The design team consists of TSC veterans, including Scenic/Props Designer Brian Ruggaber (Much Ado About Nothing; Henry V; Richard III; All’s Well That Ends Well; Twelfth Night), Costume Designer DeAnna Rowe (To Kill a Mockingbird), Lighting Designer/Production Manager Anthony Pellecchia (Henry V), and Sound Designer/Arranger Jo Sanburg (Henry V).  Taylor St. John is the Assistant Director.  The production stage manager is Joshua Baggett, and the assistant stage managers are Kilby Elisabeth Yarbrough and Bethany Fichthorn. 

“This comedy has complications and reversals like no other,” says Simotes, on a break during the first week of rehearsal.  “Love, mistaken identity, servitude, and the pain of an unkind hand or foot propel our story and its characters forward.  At the center are two sets of ‘identical’ twins.  In casting them, we wanted to explore how we ‘see’ people by what they are rather than who they are.  Skin color, clothes, occupations, and rank all define how we are seen and treated by others.  In this Comedy of Errors, identity and tradition are challenged as our production’s Ephesus of 1600 AD actually reflects a multicultural universe that was the Mediterranean Sea's roads of commerce in the Ottoman Empire of Shakespeare's time.

“The ancient Greek city of Ephesus may have been abandoned by the Ottomans at the time Shakespeare was writing Comedy of Errors (1594), but cities that once were hubs of Greek culture, religion, and commerce were still very active and thriving.  The Ottomans relied on Greek ingenuity, their civil laws, and their ships to help maintain parts of the Empire.  As long as taxes and allegiances were paid to the Sultan, the people could live in relative peace.  So our production’s city of Ephesus, although occupied and under domination by a hostile government, is still able to buy and sell its goods and maintain a semblance of normalcy.  Greeks, Africans, Persians, and others who travelled the Mediterranean had to be aware of the Ottomans and their strict codes of law.  If they weren’t, like our play’s poor merchant named Egeon, they could be sentenced to death for just landing on its shores.”

This is the fourth year of a formal partnership between the Mid-South’s professional, classical theatre company and the University of Memphis. The two organizations previously presented Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, and Showcase Memphis

“The partnership continues to employ UofM designers and theatre students with TSC’s professional cast while also providing additional training and professional development for students looking to create a career in the theatre and hopefully remaining in Memphis to do so,” says founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary.  “TSC happily rehearses and performs in U of M’s state-of-the-art theatre with the Theatre Department’s outstanding design team. We are creating an educational partnership that is making Memphis and the University the hub of classical actor training in the South for a diverse and skilled generation of young people.”

The production’s title sponsors are Ann and Wellford Tabor, Independent Bank, Tennessee Arts Commission, First Tennessee Foundation (through ArtsFirst), and the University of Memphis.  Together, they make possible discounted on-stage seating as well as Free Will Kids’ Nights on Thursday, June 8 and Thursday, June 15 (up to four children 17 years and younger admitted free when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian). 

All performances are general admission (first come/first seated) and will be played on the indoor Mainstage at the University of Memphis’ Theatre Building, located on campus at 3745 Central Avenue.  Free parking is available directly across from the Theatre Building on Central Avenue.

Tickets for the Preview performances on June 8 and June 9 are only $16.  A limited number of on-stage seats for all performances are available for only $10. Tickets for all other performances are $34 with discounts for Seniors (62 years and older) at $29 and College Students (18 years and older) at $16.  Tickets for Opening Night on June 10 include a complimentary post-show reception and toast with the actors.

Purchase tickets in person Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located at 3092 Village Shops Drive in Germantown, or by calling the Box Office at (901) 759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org.  The TSC Box Office inside the U of M Theatre Building will begin selling tickets one hour prior to each performance on-site.  No refunds/exchanges.  Cast/schedule subject to change with notice.  No babes-in-arms will be permitted in the audience for this production.


Artists’ Bios


Marquis Dijon Archuleta (Angelo)  TSC: Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet Project, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits.  Other credits: Of Mice and Men (Crooks), Cyrano De Bergerac (Comte De Guiche), Pentecost (Antonio), Pippin (Louis), Romeo and Juliet (Lord Capulet), and Jesus Christ Superstar (Simon Peter).  He is a graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Theatre & Dance program with a B.F.A. and a minor in Psychology. 

Joshua Baggett* (Production Stage Manager) is a stage manager and director based in Chicago, Illinois.  Regional stage management: 8-Track: The Sounds of the 70’s (Little Theatre on the Square), End of the Rainbow (Porchlight Music Theatre), First Date and Title of Show (Williams Street Repertory), Richard III (The Empty Theatre), Emma (Apples and Oranges Studios), All’s Well That Ends Well and The Atheist’s Tragedy (The Shakespeare Theatre Company), and You Might as Well Live (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre).  Events & Live Entertainment: Invictus Games Orlando (ContinuumLIVE); Jedi TrainingStar Wars Launch Bay and the 2016 Disney World Princess Half Marathon (Disney Parks Live Entertainment).  Regional directing: Waiting for Godot and Corpus Christi (Relevant Theatrics), and Land of the Dead (Milwaukee Repertory Theater).

Jillian Barron (Courtesan) TSC: Much Ado About NothingRomeo and Juliet Project, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, Showcase Memphis: Midsummer NightPOTS@The WorksByhalia, MS.  Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis: In Search of Tonto Goldstein.  Theatre Memphis: Rapture, Blister, Burn. GCT: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  Member of We Are Vanessa professional improvisation troupe (2014).  Education: Union University (B.A. in Theatre Performance and French Literature and Culture).  

Ellie Boisseau (Zar) is truly thrilled to begin working with Tennessee Shakespeare Company!  She currently attends the University of Memphis as a rising Senior, where she is earning her B.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in Musical Theatre.  Her favorite credits include The Sparrow (Emily Book),The School for Scandal (Sharon), and Hello, Dolly! (Minnie Fay).

Rachel Brun* (Luciana) TSC: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), Twelfth Night (Sebastian), Richard III (Lady Anne/Prince Edward), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet).  Opera House Arts in Maine: Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Ford).  Back in her native Seattle at Book-It Repertory Theatre: Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant (Tabby), The Town Theatre: Domesticity, The Horse in Motion: Attempts on Her Life.  Film: Dead Body (Ilsa).  Education:  University of Washington (B.A. in Performance Studies) and a soon-to-be second year at NYU Grad School Acting.   

Blake Currie (Dromio of Syracuse) is extremely excited to be working with Tennessee Shakespeare Company.  Blake last worked with TSC in Henry V and is incredibly grateful to be working the company once again.  His other credits include Anonymous (Pascal), Measure for Measure (Angelo), and It’s All Greek to Me (Player).  Blake is currently a student at the University of Memphis in the Department of Theatre & Dance.

Marlon Finnie (Jailor) University of Memphis: Macbeth (Porter), Blues for an Alabama Sky (Sam), A Flea in Her Ear (Ferraillon), and as part of the ensemble in Well.  Last fall, Marlon took part in TSC’s Romeo and Juliet Project, where he taught hundreds of students, at various schools, the importance of non-violence through Shakespeare.  He played Lord Capulet in the play.  Marlon is a recent graduate of the University of Memphis with a B.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in Performance. 

Destiny Freeman (Messenger/Balth) is very excited to join the cast of The Comedy of Errors.  Recent theatre credits include All New People (Emma), 8x10 Glossy (Dana), and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Delia).  She is a B.F.A. Theatre major with a concentration in Performance at the U of M.

Claire Hayner (Adriana) is excited to make her TSC debut!  She is a New York-based actress, singer, and model, working in voice-over, on-camera, and print/fit modeling.  Credits include Funny Thing...Forum (Panacea), Les Miserables (Fantine), Singin' in the Rain (Lina Lamont), Legally Blonde (Vivienne), Dangerous Liaisons (Madame de Mertuil), Into the Woods (Cinderella), and Present Laughter (Liz Essendine).  Claire is a vocalist for Hillsong NYC.  A Memphis native and a two-time Ostrander Award-winner, Claire is a graduate of the University of Memphis (B.F.A. in Theatre Performance). 

Stuart Heyman (Duke Solinus/Pinch assistant) is a founding member of TSC, where he has appeared in All’s Well That Ends Well (Lefeu), The Taming of the Shrew (Baptista), Othello (Brabantio), and As You Like It (Corin).  For Circuit Playhouse he appeared in Peter and the Starcatcher (Alf) and Tom Sawyer (Doc Robinson).  For DeSoto Family Theatre he appeared in My Fair Lady (Henry Higgins) and Oliver! (Fagin).  For Germantown Community Theatre he appeared in Man of La Mancha (Cervantes/Quixote) and in New Moon Theatre’s The Homecoming (Teddy).

Michael Khanlarian (Dr. Pinch) is a founding member of TSC, where his credits include Much Ado About NothingTo Kill A MockingbirdHenry VAll’s Well That Ends WellTwelfth NightOthelloAs You Like It, and Romeo and Juliet.  Michael is a graduate of the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance. 

Anthony Pellecchia (Lighting Designer/Production Manager) is the Assistant Professor of Lighting and Sound Design at the University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance.  He is excited to be a part of Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors as the lighting designer and production manager.  He designed TSC’s production of Henry V last year.  Anthony received his M.F.A. from The Ohio State University in 2009, and since then his creative scholarship explores the fusion of lighting composition, automation, and projections with live performance.  Anthony's professional and academic work in theatre, dance, and opera, has received awards and recognition from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region V, USITT Ohio Valley, USITT Design Expo and USA Weekender.

Nicolas Dureaux Picou (Dromio of Ephesus) appeared in TSC’s production of Henry V (Bardolph/Scroop/Borbon/Bates) and in The Physicists and M. Butterfly at the University of Memphis, where he is working on his B.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in Performance.

DeAnna Rowe (Costume Designer) TSC: To Kill a Mockingbird.  DeAnna is the Assistant Professor of Costume Design at the University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance.  She received her M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  She has taught at Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales, Ohio University, and The Art Institute of Hollywood, California.  DeAnna has worked from coast to coast.  Some of her favorite collaborations include South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, CA, The Laguna Playhouse, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Ballet, American Players Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Glimmerglass Opera.  She recently worked with William Ivey Long Studios on the touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Brian Ruggaber (Scenic/Props Designer) is proud to return to TSC for a third season (Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, All’s Well That Ends Well, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Richard III).  A recent transplant to Memphis, he is an award-winning scenic designer who currently heads the Scenic Design program at the University of Memphis.  He has designed scenery for over 130 productions, including Opera, Drama, Musical Theatre, and Dance.  Prior to joining U of M’s faculty, he was an Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and an Associate Professor of Design at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and has a M.F.A. from The University of Massachusetts and B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jo Sanburg (Sound Designer/Music Arranger) is a third-year graduate student at the University of Memphis, concentrating in sound design, lighting design, and composition.  Her most recent credits include sound design for the University of Memphis’ productions of Anon(ymous) and Little Shop of Horrors, Theatre Memphis’ production of The 39 Steps, and Tennessee Shakespeare’s production of Henry V.  Other credits include lighting design for The Sparrow and Empires of Eternal Void, and composition for Illinois State University’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre.  Jo’s sound design work has received awards through Southeast Theatre Conference and the University of Memphis Foundation.  She is a member of SETC and USITT. 

Joey Shaw* (Antipholus of Syracuse) TSC: All’s Well That Ends WellShakespeare: 400 Series, A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo and Juliet (Mainstage and Education Project).  In his native Seattle:  The Horse in Motion: Wellesley GirlBrechtFestAttempts On Her Life; Book-It Rep: I Am of Ireland; Seattle Shakespeare: Twelfth NightAntony and Cleopatra; Greenstage: Love’s Labor’s Lost.  Regional credits:  Sierra Rep: Hank Williams’ Lost Highway; Opera House Arts: The Merry Wives of Windsor.  Shakespeare Walla Walla: Romeo and Juliet.  Joey has a B.A. in Drama from the University of Washington.  He will attend NYU’s graduate acting program in the fall. 

Stephanie Shine (Abbess/Nell) is the creator of The Romeo and Juliet Project, as well as a resident artist for TSC.  Her TSC directorial credits include Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream (2015), Romeo and Juliet (2011-12, 2014-16), It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (2012-13), Southern Yuletide, and the touring shows Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Shake(s), Rattle, and Roll, Shakespeare Said It, and Lend Me Thy Sword!  Onstage at TSC, she played the Countess in All's Well that Ends Well, the female roles in Unto the Breach, and Gertrude in Hamlet.  In addition, Stephanie serves as the annual Gala Auctioneer, and curates the material for and directs TSC's Literary Salons.  She is the former Artistic Director of Seattle Shakespeare Company, a position she held for 13 years. For SSC, she directed and/or produced countless productions.  Other directorial credits include The Taming of the Shrew and The Comedy of Errors for Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the award-winning one-woman internationally touring Marilyn Monroe Biopic, Marilyn: Forever Blonde, and several new works for Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre. Her production of I am of Ireland (which she also conceived and adapted) opened Book-It's 25th Anniversary Season in September 2014.  As an actor, she has performed with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, NYC's Theatre for a New Audience, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Alley Theatre in Houston, Arizona Theatre Company, ACT, The Empty Space, and Seattle Children's Theatre, among others.  Roles include Juliet, Rosalind, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice, Regan, Feste, Kate, Bianca, Dionyza, The Princess of France, Hero, Perdita, and The Chorus in Henry V.  Stephanie is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, where she was mentored by Shakespearean great, Cal Winn.  She earned her B.F.A. at the University of Washington's Professional Actor Training Program under Bob Hobbs.

Tony Simotes+ (Director) is the former Artistic Director and President of Shakespeare & Company, a professional Company he helped found in 1978.  Tony was also an actor, director, and a Master Teacher of Fight and Movement for the Company.  S&Co director: The Tempest and Mother Courage and Her Children with Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis, the American premiere of The Hound of the Baskervilles, As You Like It, The Tale of the Allergist’s WifeThe Santaland Diaries, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Complete Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)Private Lives, The War of the Worlds a radio play, and many others over the Company’s almost four decades.  While at the helm of S&Co, he helped develop the critically-acclaimed Satchmo at the Waldorf by Terry Teachout and starring John Douglas Thompson.  He produced the play with the Long Wharf Theater in a successful Off-Broadway run.  Recent directing credits include Painting Churches by Tina Howe, The God Game by Susanne Bradbeer, and Constellations by Nick Payne for Mad Cow Theatre in Orlando, FL; The Three Musketeers for Connecticut Repertory Theatre, The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for UMass Department of Theater in Amherst; Radio Plays – The War of the Worlds by Howard Koch and The Water Engine by David Mamet, which were both broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and NPR.  His resume as a fight choreographer is extensive, featuring work from the Mark Taper Forum in LA to the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater for the New York premiere of The Woods by David Mamet.  Internationally, his work has been featured at The Stage X Festival in Brisbane, Australia, The Canadian Stage Company in Toronto, and in Vancouver at Theater 48 New Play Festival, just to name a few.  He has represented the American theater through The Drama League of New York in Sophia, Bulgaria, and was invited by the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria to help establish a relationship between U.S. artists and theirs. He is a proud member of AEA, SDC, AFTRA, and SAG.  His film and TV credits can be viewed on IMDB.com.  He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (MFA).

Taylor St. John (Assistant Director) is a theatre-maker and Educator, most recently from Kansas City, MO.  Favorite directing credits include The Four of Us,The Amish ProjectNeighborhood 3: Requisition of DoomPoor Lear, a feminine endingSex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and the world premieres of The Snake That Stole the FlowerDevoured By Tigers, and Hard Days Night.  Most recently, he directed Bull at the University of Memphis, and devised the biblical story ofAbraham and Isaac at Rhodes College.  Next up this Summer, he will direct the theatre for youth series at Okoboji Summer Theatre.  He is a first year M.F.A. Directing Candidate at the University of Memphis. 

Colton Swibold* (Antipholus of Ephesus) is thrilled to be back with TSC for a second time after playing the title role in Henry V last season.  His previous roles include Barefoot in the Park (Telephone Repair Man), The Aliens (KJ), All My Sons (Chris Keller), Biloxi Blues (Don Carney), PVT, Wars (Woodruff Gately), and various TV/Film background and technical work.  Colton has split his time in theatre and film, working as a Lighting Designer, projections engineer, and audio technician for the Montana Repertory Theatre and Independent films in Salt Lake City.

Phil Darius Wallace* (Egeon/Pinch Assistant) is a founding member of Tennessee Shakespeare Company, appearing in Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and As You Like It.  Currently, he is touring his Off-Broadway show Self-Made Man: The Frederick Douglass Story around the country.  His film credits include Live the DreamThe Department of Signs and Magical Intervention, and the TV Stream Farell.

Zach Williams (Traveling Merchant/understudy) is thrilled to be performing in his first Mainstage production with TSC, recently appearing in several staged readings with them.  His less recent productions include As You Like ItTwelfth NightA Party to Murder, and an Ostrander Award for music direction in the Good Woman of Setzuan.  He is a recent graduate of University of Memphis with a B.F.A. in Theatre with a concentration in Performance.

* member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

+ member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent national labor union.


At a Glance

Performance Schedule at the University of Memphis’ Mainstage (Theatre Building on Central Ave.)



by William Shakespeare
directed by Tony Simotes
in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Dept. of Theatre & Dance
at the University of Memphis Theatre Building
3745 Central Avenue
June 8-18
sponsored by Ann and Wellford Tabor, Independent Bank, Tennessee Arts Commission, First Tennessee Foundation (through ArtsFirst), and the University of Memphis
Produced under agreements with the professional entertainment unions: Actors’ Equity Association and The Stage Directors & Choreographers Society

Featuring a professional cast of actor-musicians and directed by Shakespeare & Company co-founder Tony Simotes, the production sets Shakespeare’s shortest, wildest play in the exotic and dangerous Greece of 1600.  The story features two sets of identical twins, who, along with their parents, were separated shortly after birth on the high seas.  Now, more than 20 years later, Antipholus (the master) and Dromio (his servant) come to a new land that is hostile to foreigners.  Little do they know, their father, chasing after them, is imprisoned and facing execution for crossing the border until he can find someone to pay his bail.  And little do they know, their identical twin brothers live here!  It makes for the funniest, most bizarre day in the country until a final familial revelation changes everyone’s lives forever.


June 8   Preview/Free Will Kids Night   7:00 pm
June 9  Preview 7:00 pm
June 10 Opening/Post-show reception   7:00 pm
June 11     Performance 3:00 pm
June 15  Performance/Free Will Kids Night
7:00 pm
June 16    Performance 7:00 pm
June 17  Performance 7:00 pm
June 18 Closing 3:00 pm


Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare as environmental theatre seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming.  Now in its ninth season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare’s works.  For more information: www.tnshakespeare.org.

University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance

The University of Memphis' Department of Theatre & Dance offers both the BFA and MFA degrees in theatre and is successfully training our next generation of theatre artists. The Department mounts a full season of plays and dance concerts in a variety of performance venues, large and small.  With an emphasis on diversity and a breadth of experience only the performing arts can provide, the Department of Theatre & Dance provides audiences with the best in local theatre and dance.  Upcoming productions feature a delightful mix of comedy and drama, music and dance.  For more information: www.memphis.edu/theatre.


  • Remarkable Results from Romeo and Juliet Project
  • New Permanent Year-Round Home for TSC
  • Shakespeare Shout-Out Series
  • New Germantown Municipal School District Partnership
  • New Company d and Memphis VA Partnerships

See the Remarkable Results from this year's Romeo and Juliet Project

(February 12, 2018) -- "I believe Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet Project in Memphis is one of the more crucial, proven, and successful arts-in-education initiatives in the United States," says TSC founder and Producing Artistic Director, Dan McCleary.

This brief report responds to several of the most frequently asked questions TSC has received in the last decade regarding Shakespeare and its education programming in Memphis:

  • Why do you believe William Shakespeare and his plays are relevant in the 21st Century?
  • Why do I have to learn Shakespeare in school?
  • Can my children really understand Shakespeare?
  • Do you really believe Shakespeare can save lives?
  • You don’t really believe that Shakespeare can change the world, do you?

TSC provides its responses in the words, pictures, tallies, and grades of children, teachers, and actors in its four-month Romeo and Juliet Project throughout Shelby County in Tennessee. 

"And for the record, on that last question," says McCleary, "Yes, I do."

Read the report

We have Purchased the Former Ballet Memphis Property to Create the State’s First Permanent, Year-Round Home for Professional Shakespeare Performance, Education, and Training in Memphis

pic newhome tsc2017(August 31) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced it has purchased the former facility and property of Ballet Memphis located at 7950 Trinity Road in Memphis as its first, permanent home. 

The announcement was made by Dan McCleary, the company’s founder and Producing Artistic Director; Owen B. Tabor, the company’s Board President for the past six years; and E. Frank Bluestein, the company’s founding Executive Director.

With this acquisition, Tennessee Shakespeare Company is preparing to create the first and only permanent, year-round home for professional Shakespeare performance, education, and training in the state of Tennessee.

TSC purchased the 18,484 square foot facility outright from Ballet Memphis for $1,900,000.  There is no mortgage. 

TSC, now beginning its tenth anniversary season, expects to begin interior renovation this year and be completed in Spring 2018.

The renovation will focus on modifying existing dance studios into a state-of-the-art, professional, flexible theatre for seating up to 200 patrons, as well as a spacious Education Wing.  The public lobby, restrooms, and support areas for the theatre also will be modified.

Centrally located to all of Shelby County just north of Walnut Grove Road, between Germantown Road and the northeast corner of Shelby Farms Park, the unique glass-and-steel facility will house all of TSC’s operations under one roof:  performances, training, education, administrative offices, storage, costume shop, scene shop, and commercial kitchen.  The facility was constructed in 1998, and an addition was built in 2012.  It affords parking for nearly 70 cars.

TSC and Ballet Memphis, longtime arts colleagues whose artistic staffs have collaborated over the years, entered into a Purchase & Sale Agreement in late June.  The sale represents one Memphis not-for-profit arts organization selling to another for re-use of a special purpose building.  TSC’s agent was W. Cary Whitehead III of Boyle Investment Company.

For the last nine years, TSC has created site-specific/environmental Shakespeare and classical productions, both indoors and outside, throughout Shelby County, partnering with long-time friends Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the University of Memphis, St. George’s Church, Shelby Farms Park, Germantown City Hall, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Hutchison School, and Germantown Performing Arts Center.

“This is an important moment in Memphis performing arts,” said Dr. Tabor.  “We have researched more than 50 sites in the last few years, and the former Ballet property is perfect for our needs and for what our audiences say they would like.  The Ballet’s new home in Overton Square is so impressive, and they have been wonderful to work with during this transaction.  We wish them tremendous success.  We appreciate that this special building is the launch pad for exciting futures for two important arts groups in Memphis.

Read More

The First Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series Launches Our 10th Season throughout Shelby County

pic shakespeare shout out 10 1 17Mario Hoyle (Romeo) and Kiana Holley (Juliet).

We officially launch our tenth anniversary season this week when we bring Romeo and Juliet to the historic outdoor train depot and platform in Collierville Town Square on Saturday, October 7 at 4:00 pm.

Our first Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series, sponsored by Evans/Petree, P.C., features 11 performances of three touring productions to ten outdoor/indoor locations throughout Shelby County playing through November 10.

No tickets are required.  First come/first seated.

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, directed by Stephanie Shine, questions the future of the Roman Republic, the love that sustains it, and the leadership that breaches it.  Romeo and Juliet, directed by Carmen-maria Mandley, is fast, physical, and daring in its descent from comedy to mortal, young tragedy.  And TSC’s Shake(s), Rattle, & Roll, directed by Shine, pairs the legacy music of Memphis with the famous Shakespeare scenes TSC imagines inspired them.

Read More

Announcing a New, Multi-Year Partnership with the Germantown Municipal School District for Cutting-Edge Classical Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students

pic germantown partnership1Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Germantown Municipal School District today announced a unique, multi-year education partnership that will bring immersive, cutting-edge Shakespeare curriculum to life for every student in grades five, seven, and nine.

Starting with this school year, all GMSD fifth and seventh grade students will participate in an introductory, immersive playshop to prepare and excite them for experiencing a full, live performance of TSC’s self-created production of Shakes, Rattle, and Roll.  The show pays tribute to our hometown heritage, creatively linking the signature music of Memphis to the works of Shakespeare that could have inspired them.

All ninth grade students will be treated to TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet Project, a four-part interactive residency that concludes with an intimate and riveting live performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The Project, originally launched at Germantown High School seven years ago and now operating in many Shelby County Schools, transforms classrooms into playing spaces to change students' expectations and reception of the material. The residency begins with three sessions that engage the students in playing three different parts of the play.  The positive impact on the students’ grades, compassion level, engagement in continued exploration of classical texts, and their rehearsed ability to walk away from potentially life-threatening situations in their own lives has proven quantifiable and remarkable in the scores of schools in which TSC has taught over the past eight years. 

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New, Exciting TSC Partnerships with Company d and the Memphis VA, and Expanding Programs with Jail East and Hope Academy

“TSC gives them models to express their feelings, which they probably have never done.  For maybe the first time in their lives, they think about the world around them and their role in the community.”

- Joyce Anderson, Juvenile Manager, Shelby County Sheriff's Office

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Hope Academy residency participants

We are thrilled to announce new partnerships between TSC and Company d and the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Association.  Also this month (August), we are happily expanding our Shakespeare programs for adjudicated youth at both Jail East and Hope Academy.

TSC is spending August in residence with Company d.  Nationally recognized, Company d is a dance company of young adults with Down syndrome under the artistic direction of choreographer Darlene Winters.  Founded in 2001, Company d is committed to inspire, empower, and teach individuals with Down syndrome who have an inherent aptitude for the performing arts.

TSC Education Manager Carmen-maria Mandley and TSC Education artists guide participants through the tumultuous world of Romeo and Juliet.  Using movement and text, the dancers are immersed in Shakespeare's images and encouraged to discover their personal connection with the characters of the play.

"Company d dancers are having a dynamic experience with TSC this week,” says Winters, Company d founder and Artistic Director.  “The play and its language are being brought to life with interactive methods.  The partnership with Tennessee Shakespeare Company is the first partnership with a theatre company in this region.  I am so excited about this new and unique experience for individuals with Down syndrome, which will enrich artistic growth and expand cultural literacy skills."

Also in August, TSC begins working with veterans at the Memphis VA Medical Association. This program brings together service veterans with theatre practitioners to use the plays of Shakespeare in addressing combat-related traumatic and re-integration issues. The model, created by the Feast of Crispian Project in Milwaukee, WI, was created to strengthen the personal psychological resources available to service veterans - especially those with post-deployment health issues - through the practice and skills of theatre combined with the timeless themes and imagistic language of Shakespeare.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

International Paper    FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

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     ArtsFirst Color    

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Evans Petree

Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Collierville Municipal School District; Dixon Gallery & Gardens; Germantown Municipal School District; Memphis Hunt & Polo Club; Palladio;
Shelby County Schools; The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       artsmemphis std color logo2500    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live